Bluffton Academy of the Arts is especially proud of our highly skilled faculty, who bring together decades of experience to create a diverse and well-rounded experience for students in the school.

Meg Eberly, Director and Dance Faculty

Meg Eberly

Originally from Dallas, Texas, Meg Eberly trained at the high school dance program of what is now the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under such distinguished instructors as Melissa Hayden, Warren Conover and Nina Danilova.  She attended summer intensive programs at the School of American Ballet and American Ballet Theatre in New York City and also the Hungarian National Ballet School in Budapest, Hungary.  Meg went on to dance for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and as a guest artist for North Carolina Dance Theatre, performing classical and contemporary ballets.  Some of her favorite roles were in Kent Stowell’s Carmina Burana, George Balanchine’s Ballet Imperial and the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker.

After retiring from professional ballet, Meg enrolled in the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in accounting and working as a teaching assistant in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business Administration.  She also interned with Deloitte throughout her college years, and, upon graduating summa cum laude, accepted a full-time position with the firm, subsequently qualifying as a certified public accountant.  Throughout this time, Meg continued to support the arts through fundraising and volunteering for Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.  She chaired PBT’s Pointe in Time Ball in 2009, helping to raise over $300,000 for her former ballet company.  She also held an Executive Committee position with the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, which raises money for developmentally challenged individuals in Pennsylvania.

Upon moving to the Lowcountry, Meg continued her work in finance at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort and was also able to pursue her passion of teaching ballet once again. She works to champion the arts throughout the region, having served on Hilton Head Island’s Arts and Cultural Committee and on the board of the Island School Council for the Arts. After going back into teaching ballet full time, Meg started the Bluffton Academy for the Arts to offer our area’s young performing artists a flexible schooling option as they pursue their own dreams in the arts world.

Meg is proud of her over 12 years of experience in ballet instruction. She has completed both the celebrated CPYB Teachers Workshop and Finis Jhung’s Teacher Workshop and is also certified to teach Progressing Ballet Technique. She has written extensive curriculum for training dancers in ballet and pointe work from the beginner to the pre-professional level, focusing on building a thorough knowledge of ballet terminology and class etiquette with safe progression to allow for longevity and flexibility in today’s dance world. Meg is so excited to pass on her love for ballet and the process of training and working in the professional dance world with all of her students.

Sonya Jacobs, Musical Theater Faculty

Sonya Jacobs cultivated her love for fine choral music in college at Northern Arizona University, with Dr. Jo-Michael Scheibe, where she was invited to her first American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) performance. She was also blessed to be in the voice studio and under opera training by Dr. Lloyd and Sally Hanson. She continued her training beyond graduation with Mary Scheibe and Erich Parce from NAU, and Dr. Eric Nelson with Atlanta Sacred Chorale.

Sonya is also a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist with an interest in voice disorders and early childhood speech and language. She has sang, directed, worship led, and taught privately and in churches and youth ensembles, as well as special events throughout the Lowcountry.

Some of her favorite recent choral ensemble experience has been with Atlanta Master Chorale (formerly Atlanta Sacred Chorale) at Emory University under Dr. Eric Nelson.

Nina Ricciardi, Dance Faculty

Nina Ricciardi began her training at the Central Wisconsin School of Ballet and studied intensely under Waltraud Karkar.  At CWSB, Nina enjoyed many roles including: The Nutcracker’s Clara, Waltz of the Flower’s Dew Drop, Snow Queen, and Spanish, Beatrix Potter’s Two Bad Mice, and Carnival of the Animal’s Dying Swan.  In 1994, Nina was awarded a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School’s summer intensive in New York City.  Upon graduating high school, she attended the University of Utah’s ballet program with an emphasis in ballet instruction.  She later received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.  Nina has had the privilege of studying with legends of dance throughout her career including Irina Kolpakova, Vladilen Semonov, Conrad Ludlow, Gabriela Komleva, Shamil Yagudin, among many others.  

Nina has been teaching and setting choreography around the state of Wisconsin for 20 years, including 10 years as Associate Director of Central Wisconsin School of Ballet and Wausau Dance Theatre.  In 2017, Nina completed the Progressing Ballet Technique certification with Marie Walton-Manon in West Palm Beach, FL and she completed the Level 1 Teacher and Health Professional Training and Certification with Lisa Howell in LaCrosse, WI.

Nina has recently moved to the Bluffton area with her family and is excited to be sharing her passion of dance with BAA.

Holly Ryder, Adjunct Dance Faculty

Holly received the majority of her early training at Roswell City Dance in Roswell, GA where she was exposed to many different styles and choreographers. Holly credits the formation of her technique and movement to Cherrise Wakeham and Shannon Childers. She also spent two summers training at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, with a focus on ballet and modern. After graduating from high school, Holly continued her training as a dance major at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. It was there that she became recognized for her unique style of movement and started focusing more on choreography. During her time at Uarts, she was a dancer and choreographer for the Xhale Dance Company under director, Michael Susten. She also choreographed and performed a work that was chosen to represent the school at the College Dance Showcase in New York City. After school, she returned to the Atlanta area and danced in the contemporary company, Project 7, under director Cherrise Wakeham. She signed with Bloc South Talent Agency and appeared in multiple industrials with choreographers, such as Chuck Maldonado and Codie Wiggins.

Holly currently lives in FL and travels with Intrigue Dance Convention. Bluffton Academy for the Arts students will have the opportunity to train with her throughout the school year.

Visiting Guest Faculty

Bluffton Academy for the Arts is excited to bring nationally-acclaimed visiting instructors from a variety of dance styles to work with our students. Notable guest faculty have included Jeff Amsden, Keri LaGrand, Jakob Karr, Robert Gosnell and Emily Zachary, as well as the Director and performers from Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami.